School mergers and the opening of a new Primary School in Sengkang to ensure students’ continued access to quality and rich learning experiences
1. The fall in live births in Singapore over the past two decades has led to a corresponding decline in overall demand for school places at the national level.
2. The geographical distribution of the school-going population has also shifted over the years. While there is a higher demand for school places in newer housing estates1, the demand in more mature estates has fallen.
Providing quality education and rich learning experience for students
3. Sufficient critical mass is needed for a school to offer a good range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities (CCAs) for its students. A school with low enrolment will find it challenging to offer such a range, and this would impact its students’ learning experiences.
4. Falling birth rates will soon affect our JCs. Lower enrolment will make it challenging for a JC to offer a wide suite of subject combinations and co-curricular programmes.
5. To ensure that our schools have an adequate number of students for a meaningful educational experience, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has merged some primary and secondary schools, and built new primary schools in new estates . To address the significant continued fall in cohort sizes, more schools will need to be merged over the next two years. MOE will also merge JCs for the first time to maintain the quality of a JC education. All eligible students are assured of a place in JCs. The changes are as follows:
- Open one new Primary School in Sengkang in 2018
- Merge 7 pairs of Primary Schools in 2019
- Merge 3 pairs of Secondary Schools in 2019
- Merge 4 pairs of Junior Colleges (JCs) in 20192
(refer to Annex A for list of schools to be merged)
Working with merger partners to ensure smooth transition
6. MOE has identified the pairs of schools to be merged based on careful considerations such as enrolment size, geographical proximity, suitability of merger partners and infrastructure capacity. The sites for the merged schools are chosen based on accessibility to transport and quality of infrastructure. For JCs, the overall geographical coverage across Singapore is an additional consideration.
7. MOE will work together with the affected schools to ensure a smooth transition to the merged school for staff and students, and in the process, forge a strong identity for the merged school. The history and heritage of both schools will be documented in a heritage space in the merged school building. As with all previous mergers, there will be no retrenchment of MOE staff.
Opening of new Primary School in Sengkang
8. At the same time, to meet the high demand for school places in Sengkang, a new primary school - Fern Green Primary - will begin operations and admit its first Primary One cohort in 2018.
9. In deciding on merging or opening schools, MOE’s key consideration is to be responsive to changing demographics and community needs, whilst providing an optimal student experience at all times. A vibrant and fulfilling educational environment for our students will always be our top priority.
From 2015 to 2017, MOE has merged 3 pairs of primary schools and 11 pairs of secondary schools. MOE had also in March 2016 that announced that 4 pairs of secondary schools will be merged in 2018. In 2016, 3 new primary schools were opened in Punggol.
MOE will merge 4 pairs out of 23 schools that offer a JC programme.